Tag Archives: Crafts

Geeky Little Stitcher Monthly Cross Stitch Club

Geeky Little Stitcher Monthly Cross Stitch Club

Today I wanted to introduce a new monthly subscription box I’ve been loving recently. The Geeky Little Stitcher cross stitch club from Jess, based in Exeter. It’s kawaii themed and each month is a based around a different cute foody character. The first box was released in April with an avocado theme, May’s was burgers, June is cake and July’s (now available) is doughnuts – you can see the pattern emerging I’m sure.

Geeky Little Stitcher Monthly Cross Stitch Club Geeky Little Stitcher Monthly Cross Stitch Club

The box costs £9.99 plus £3.50 UK p&p and includes one main pattern, including all the threads you need, an embroidery hoop, aida cloth and a needle. The patterns are bold and contemporary but simple so it’s good even for beginners like me.

Geeky Little Stitcher Monthly Cross Stitch Club

You will also receive a second surprise pattern and themed extras. These are a fabulous touch as the box is already great value. I love the ‘B is for Burger’ pattern (this would make a lovely unusual addition to a kids bedroom). The burger fabric swatch is dead handy for keeping needles safe and I always have room for cute stickers and address labels. And sweets, always room in my belly for them!

Geeky Little Stitcher Monthly Cross Stitch Club

WIP shot. I worked on the pattern for a couple of hours a night for 2 or 3 weekends. I’m pretty slow but I’m sure my stitching will speed up as I tackle more patterns.

Geeky Little Stitcher Monthly Cross Stitch Club

The finished product! I think I like it without the hearts as well, but let me know if you disagree! I can’t decide.

Can’t wait to get started on the next one. You can sign up here and check out Jess’ other designs as well.


Bristol | Outlaw Artisan Craft Show

Bristol | Outlaw Artisan Craft Show Bristol | Outlaw Artisan Craft Show Bristol | Outlaw Artisan Craft Show

A few weekends ago I sacrificed my beloved Saturday lie-in for an early train to Bristol for the first Outlaw Artisan Craft Show in the city.  Based in the Passenger Shed, it was a weekend of  craft sellers, demonstrations and workshops. I booked myself a couple of workshops, making sure I also had plenty of time for my favourite activity – shopping! The entry fee was £6 and the first couple of 100 people who arrived were given a copy of a recent Mollie Makes or Homemaker magazine.

Bristol | Outlaw Artisan Craft ShowMy first workshop of the day was bookbinding with Tim from Camel Winter Books. All the workshops were paid and this one was £15 which included making two notebooks to take away with you. We were told a bit about the basics of bookbinding, for example, how to tell the grain of the paper (crucial for folding purposes), the best tools for the job, and some simple techniques. It was lovely to hear from someone who was so obviously passionate about their craft and to hear that it doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive activity. My results were mixed, the pages are not exactly neat but they’re bot definitely passable!

Bristol | Outlaw Artisan Craft Show

The Demo Theatre had a line-up of makers who demonstrated their crafts with little how-tos for any one who was thinking about giving it a try, or was just interested in the process. Demonstrations included ink rolling, making a terrarium and making a non-sew tutu for the little ones.

Bristol | Outlaw Artisan Craft Show Bristol | Outlaw Artisan Craft Show

The Make and Take Theatre was halfway between the workshops and the demo theatre and free to attend. Your table had all the supplies you needed to make along with the crafter on stage. I went to the wool pom-pom with Thimbleson. Apparently all you need to do to make a delightful little pom-pom is wrap wool round a fork, tie it off, and cut. Easy! Well, my first one was a total fail, it fell apart immediately! Luckily, I was sat next to a very nice lady who helped me to get the hang of it. Thank you nice lady!

Bristol | Outlaw Artisan Craft Show

There was a few options for food including Vietnamese street food, but I couldn’t resist the call of the epic looking pastries and cakes at The Cornish Hen stand. I had the best sausage roll, a chorizo scotch egg and an enormous slab of chocolate while I had a flick through my Mollie Makes magazine and listened to the musical entertainment.

Bristol | Outlaw Artisan Craft Show Bristol | Outlaw Artisan Craft Show Bristol | Outlaw Artisan Craft Show

My last activity of the day was the Screen Printing workshop with The Art Troupe. This was £10 and although I have done screen printing before, it’s been over 10 years, and I was interested to see how it could do done on a small scale at home. The answer – an embroidery hoop for your screen – duh! I thought this was so clever and will be giving it a go at home for sure (once we get a bigger place). I didn’t have a plan for my images so I ended up making a fairly basic stegosaurus and an orca design. I have to say I really like the orca though!

Bristol | Outlaw Artisan Craft Show

Of course, I had to buy myself a few goodies. From Ladybird Likes, I bought a dino bracelet and a set of motivational cards, stickers and badge – I need a helluva lotta motivation at the moment! I bought a cute/creepy cat x-ray necklace from Buku Forest Studios and a dinosaur brooch and a lucky dip set of cards from Hannah Stevens.

Bristol | Outlaw Artisan Craft Show

And my favourite item/splurge of the day was this cheetah necklace from Sstutter. The detail is just incredible – it has geometric etching on it, it’s just so beautiful and unique. Deffo found a new favourite shop!


All in all, I had a fantastic day at Outlaw. I really enjoyed the workshops and the friendly atmosphere. The next one is in August in Falmouth, so if you’re in that area, definitely check it out. I have my fingers and toes crossed that they’ll be back in Bristol before too long.





Black Heart Creatives Jewellery Making Workshop

Black Heart Creatives Jewellery Making Workshop

Recently I’ve been amassing quite a collection of laser cut and acrylic jewellery, something about it is really appealing to me at the moment. So when I saw that Charlotte from Black Heart Creatives was running a jewellery making workshop in Bristol of course I snapped up a ticket. With an ‘Under the Sea’ theme, the event promised the chance to make two pieces of totally unique, statement jewellery.

Black Heart Creatives Jewellery Making Workshop 20150409_191446

Our base for the night was The Crazy Fox in the centre of Bristol, a really nice coffee bar which hosts a range of events from art exhibitions to live music. Once refreshments had been bought, our first task was to make a charm bracelet. On our work trays we were given a selection of sea themed charms – shells, seahorses and fishes plus plenty of jump rings a lobster clasp and a length of chain. We were able to measure the chains to fit and then Charlotte showed us the proper way to open and close jump rings – actually a bit of an art!

Black Heart Creatives Jewellery Making Workshop

I decided to go for the fully loaded look and used all my charms! They are really nicely detailed with etching or hole details as on the starfish and I liked the range of colours and materials – especially that transparent yellow conch shell. I decided to put the two seahorses kissing in the middle and built a kind of symmetrical design around it.

Black Heart Creatives Jewellery Making Workshop

Next up was a slightly more complex design – a fully customisable mermaid tail necklace. Charlotte brought along two designs to choose from, a three part opaque green with etching on the fins, or an older design which had four parts. Both were lovely but as soon as I saw the turquoise mirror acrylic, I knew the choice for me! This time we had a few mini charms and a selection of rhinestones. My tail was already pretty blingy with the mirror look so I added just a few embellishments. The trickiest part of the workshop was injecting the acrylic glue under charm (I almost glued my necklace to the plastic tray), but we all got there in the end!

I loved the workshop and I’m so pleased with my makes. I gave the bracelet to a friend as part of a mermaid themed birthday present and she seemed pretty impressed with my handiwork too. The workshop had a lovely, laid back atmosphere and it was really fun to see everyone’s different interpretation of the materials and the final results.

Black Heart Creatives also do events in London so make sure you give them a little follow to hear of when their next one is. I’ll definitely be along to another one!

Lucky Dip Club | Love Hearts and Lipstick

Lucky Dip Club February Lovehearts and Lipstick

I do love Lucky Dip Club days. As you most likely already know the score with them now I’ll just skip straight to the contents.

As February is the month of love (Valentine’s Day being slap bang in the middle and all), the theme was “Love Hearts and Lipstick”. The collaboration was with LaLaLand so featured a personalised pencil from PopCult Pencils. It also included a glittery pout badge, washi tape with sweet slogans, a love letter necklace and a patch DIY kit.

Lucky Dip Club February Lovehearts and Lipstick

The necklace is so dainty and pretty!

Lucky Dip Club February Lovehearts and Lipstick

I made some nautical themed patches with the DIY kit. Not perfect but I like them. I’m enjoying doing some basic sewing so I might try and get some more practice in and learn a few more techniques.

‘Til next month, S.W.A.L.K!

Joining the Save the Children Display Team

Save the Children Displays

Recently I was contacted by the team at the Mary’s Living & Giving Shop for Save the Children in Edinburgh to come to the shop and learn about what they do. I thought that the best way to do this would be to do a few volunteer shifts and share my experience there. This week’s post will be about the Visual Merchandising team.

First, a quick introduction to the shop. Located in Stockbridge the Living & Giving shop is one of a kind in Scotland. Based on a concept by Mary Portas (her off the telly with the ginger bob), these stores are designed to be community hubs. This shop is also part of Save the Children’s community stores which are entirely run by volunteers. Everything from the banking to the rotas are done by volunteers, including the visual merchandising.

Save the Children Displays

The team meets once a week on a Thursday evening with weeks alternating between planning and changing the window display. Every display is planned with a clear theme in mind. I went along for a few meetings and helped to plan the back-to-basics Save the Children theme.

Save the Children Displays

After a quick bit of brainstorming we set about making backgrounds to hang in the window to create coherence and make it stand out. One of the team had the idea to do kid’s drawing – perfect for the theme and resulted in a pretty fun hour drawing on the floor. They then drew up a planogram and shared it with the rest of the team via their Facebook group so we could get right into changing the window the following week.

Save the Children Displays

I was given the task of making a dress for a mannequin using Save the Children bags and stickers and a little bit of red ribbon. I think I did OK!

Save the Children Displays Save the Children Displays

Meanwhile, there’s nothing else for it, you gotta climb in that window and get sticking, hanging, cutting and adjusting…

Save the Children Displays

…And more adjusting. And looking. And adjusting. Until it’s perfect.

Save the Children Displays Save the Children Displays

In keeping with the brand, we went for a red and white theme and used the words “Donate”, “Volunteer” and “Care” to really drive the message home alongside collection buckets and children’s soft toys. A lot of the fine details such as the clothing and the toys purely depend on what is in the shop at the time but we managed to achieve our overall goal.

Save the Children Displays

Sadly I don’t have a picture of the windows in the daytime but I think you can agree it’s fairly striking?

Overall, I was really impressed at the freedom that Save the Children gives it’s volunteers to do something like this. The window display is a real point of pride in the shop and the team work really hard to keep it looking good. Stockbridge has a lot of fab charity shops so they use the displays to stand out and draw people into the shop and they do this with aplomb. For only 2 hours a week I was able to contribute to this fantastic store and it gave me a real sense of pride to see what we put together.

As well as contributing to the charity using your time and skills, this is also a fantastic opportunity to gain experience if you are interested in retail, design, merchandising etc. Or even if you are just looking for a creative output or to meet new people. It doesn’t take a huge commitment and you might be surprised at what kind of stuff you might get to do by approaching your local charity shop. I definitely want to continue with the Visual Merchandising team. And 2 hours after work on a Thursday – I’m sure I can manage that!

I also spent some time with the shop floor team so next week I’ll be sharing my experience of this. Everything from serving customers to taking donations, it was certainly a varied job!

For more information about the invaluable work of Save the Children, visit their website here.

DIY | To Be Read Jar

To Be Read Jar

I first saw the idea of a To Be Read jar on Erin’s blog E-Elise and thought it was a really good idea. Recently the fabulous Becky Bedbug and Vivatramp did their own versions which motivated me to get in on the TBR action. I’ve been much better at reading recently and I have built quite the collection to books to read, but I do often struggle to pick. The TBR jar makes it super simple – write each book on a slip of paper, stick them in the jar, pull one out, and read the damn book.

I decided to decorate a spare, small preserving jar with some illustrations cut out from Company magazine.

To Be Read Jar To Be Read Jar

Not the most complicated craft – just get some craft PVA and glue the paper directly on to the jar. With stuff like this I always apply a layer of PVA over the top too as it dries clear but protects the image and just makes it much more secure. I also stuck some washi tape on the lid with “To Be Read” written on it, y’know, in case I forget what it’s for.

To Be Read Jar To Be Read Jar To Be Read Jar

I think it looks pretty good. I have about 30 books in it so I’m setting myself a key rule:

I’m allowed to put a book back into the jar if I really don’t want to read it, but only twice. After that, it’s put into the donation pile for my local charity shop. No hoarding!

To Be Read Jar

Right, I’m off to read The Deaths.

What have you been reading recently? I’d love some book recommendations – there’s always more room in the jar!

DIY Cocktail Wreath

DIY Umbrella WreathI love an easy peasy DIY, I’m forever pinning them on Pinterest although sometimes it takes me a while to get to doing them. I pinned the Paper Umbrella Wreath by Family Chic at least a year and a half ago. I finally got round to doing it last weekend. It took me ten minutes. Yeah, get crafting your pins, folks.

DIY Umbrella Wreath componentsAll you need is a whole load of paper cocktail umbrellas – I got mine from eBay here, 144 for £3.99 – and a foam oasis – again I got mine from eBay here, two for £5.99 – bargain!

DIY Cocktail Umbrella wreath how toI’m sure you can figure this bit out, but all you do is open the umbrellas and push them one by one into the foam. Make sure you do one pointing up the way and one facing downwards to make sure that as much of the foam is blocked from view as possible. I tried to ensure an even distribution of colours.

DIY paper umbrella wreathDIY Cocktail WreathTa-Da! I’ll be hanging one on my front door and one on my living room door for my pre-birthday  cocktail party. I’m sure it’ll get everyone in the mood. And the best thing is this only cost £10 and I have plenty of umbrellas left for the drinks. Result!

What do you think of this DIY? Do you have any alternative wreath ideas?